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Re: Unchartered and Sinking

From: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2012 04:39:07 +0200
To: Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org>
Cc: www-archive@w3.org
Message-ID: <emurp7loslc5f1iak6rcaovj5hrggj7ups@hive.bjoern.hoehrmann.de>
* Philippe Le Hegaret wrote:
>If you want to make a comment against the document, please you should
>look at the status of the document: "The W3C membership and other
>interested parties are invited to review the document and send comments
>to public-media-fragment@w3.org mailing list". Do you really expect the
>Group to look at www-archive for comments against their document?

In my experience, people understand the word "really" as used above as
a device for dramatisation. You might imagine that the people of some
village gather to resolve an important and controverisal matter; they
debate it, people would ask one another, do you think this, expect that
and when all points have been made, people might turn to some authority
figure who holds a less popular opinion and ask, "Do you really think
that is the right decision to make", they affirm, people are satisfied
with the process and accept this outcome, and in the next scene you'll
see the people starting to implement the decision. That's a good use of
the construct, the person asking does not find it very unreasonable if
the question is affirmed and he is genuinely interested in the answer.

You are not using it that way though, there is no escalation, you don't
really find posting to www-archive is a viable alternative to posting
to the designated list for comments, you are not really interested what
I might be expecting (otherwise you would simply ask whether I expect
that, or what I expect, not whether I "really" expect something), you
are not really talking to me at all, your audience is other people who
might also be reading your mail. If this was the 1990s I might respond
in kind, asking whether you really think that I am too stupid to figure
out where to send feedback if I had any, but I have found that turning
attention away from "how to make comments" to "you are an idiot", "no,
You are an idiot" does not really do any good.

That goes quite generally for asking people questions that do not allow
for more than one answer. I also note that your question insinuates I
made some sort of comment that anyone would look for. I did not. So the
question you are asking really combines a strawman with an ad hominem,
if one was to assume bad faith on your part. That similarily does not
tend to be very useful, so to complete the earlier point, you are not
adressing me here, but rather other people, and your intent was simply
to provide them with some clarification. I sometimes do that, and I've
found a good way to do that, that avoids that people feel like they've
got to defend themselves, which would only distract, is to write, say,

  (The Working Group monitors the $address mailing list for feedback,
  any comments people wish the Working Group to consider should be
  sent there.)

That includes all the relevant information without any ostensible sug-
gestion that anyone is in breach of protocol or behaving unreasonably,
and the parentheses apparently discourage people to react to the im-
plied suggestion. It is, after all, not really something that you are
very interested in debating, there is no considerable confusion over
the matter, it's just an aside.

Now, I would also be rather reluctant to annoy people with an analysis
of their use of language, and using terms like "ad hominem" is unlike-
ly to further a happy and productive debate, but the context of my mail
was that I was studying north sea germanic languages, phrases, nautical
terms that have come into everyday use, the taut ship in particular, so
I think I should continue in that spirit.

Now, materially, I could make comments to the Media Fragments Working
Group, like telling them that their Proposed Recommendation includes a
summary of ABNF rules that do not actually appear anywhere else and are
not actually discussed at all in the document, but making sure that my
comments are actually adressed in a reasonable manner, uhm, let's say
that is something that does not get to the top of anyone's priority
queue.

>If folks on www-tag have comments against Media Fragments, I encourage
>to make them to make them on public-media-fragments. Having said that,
>why wait until the document because a Proposed Recommendation to make
>those comments for a Group that has been created by in 2008? In
>addition, this is a technology that is getting deployed, as proven by
>the implementation report. I'm not sure what's laughable about trying to
>address a very important use case identified back in December 2007.

If I thought that folks on www-tag should be made aware of where they
should send comments, I would tell them. If I wasn't sure what's laugh-
able about something or other, and would want to know, I'd go and find
out.

I also note that the Working Group has a Holschuld here, an obligation
to obtain information, with respect to entities like the IETF. They are
not to lean back and wait for the comments to come in, they are to seek
out adequate review of their work. "But Mr. Dent, the plans have been
available in the local planning office for the last nine months" makes
as much sense here as it does in the original.

And what's been described as laughable wasn't trying to do something. I
can see the synthesis of "something is bad." and "but they mean well!",
but, you know, why would you post that to www-archive instead of the
list where people are actually arguing about that, if you cared to have
the issue resolved in some way? Do you really expect ...

Personally I would very much like to see issues like how different me-
dia types can share common fragment identifier conventions resolved in
a proper and good way, but as far as I can tell, that would require a
level of organization far above The Director sending out an email say-
ing the Working Group's charter has been extended and adjusting dates
in the charter and activity statement. That was my aside, if you can't
expect that, then you don't really begin to expect anything else...
-- 
Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjoern@hoehrmann.de · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
Am Badedeich 7 · Telefon: +49(0)160/4415681 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
25899 Dagebüll · PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 · http://www.websitedev.de/ 
Received on Monday, 30 April 2012 02:39:34 UTC

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